Archive for July, 2010
Today I saw an ad for “Muscle Milk.” It said, “does not contain milk.”
My second day in IguazÃº, I went to see the waterfalls as part of a group tour. On the way there, I met this guy.
He is a coati mundi, and he’s pretty tame. Yes, that’s my knee.
After hanging around taking Tango and Spanish lessons in Buenos Aires for a week, I went on a 1-week tourism trip through Argentina, with 3 stops. My first stop was IguazÃº, the enormous waterfalls on the border with Brazil.
It’s a jungle out there. No, really, it’s a rain forest.
I was actually surprised that it didn’t feel as rain-forest-y as I expected. It wasn’t ultra-hot (winter), or wet (not raining), or incredibly green, or raucously noisy. It reminded me of northeastern US forests, which also have many trees, heavy ground cover, and vines. The main difference was the great number of epiphytes. Every plant was bedecked in vines and bromeliads, which would probably be more awesome in the summer when things bloom. Later, I even saw epiphytic cacti!
In among the lushness, people live. Apparently, due to the economic downturn, the government made some forest land available to settlement, and the people live there. They really do burn out rainforest for farming, but at least here, it’s in very small plots. They grow things like manioc and bananas, and raise chickens and cows. It looks somewhere between quaint and squalid.
As a day trip from Buenos Aires, I went to Colonia, Uruguay. It’s a little town just across the “river” from Buenos Aires. (I put river in quotes because it’s more than 20 miles wide there, and brackish.) There’s a small historical area, and then quite a lot of laid-back but not exactly thriving town.
I rented a bike to wander around, though I didn’t end up traveling as far as I’d planned. As a reference for how safe things were, the bike rental place didn’t even recommend locking my bike, and I didn’t, and that worked perfectly well.
Old Colonia was pretty but small.
I arrived in Buenos Aires on Thursday morning, and I took a shuttle into the city’s downtown. I was immediately struck by all the high-rise apartment buildings everywhere. They looked like subsidized housing might here in the US, but, well, didn’t seem horrible or run-down. I gather that with the current economic situation, that’s where the middle class lives. I also hear that there are some shanty-towns where even the police don’t go.
You know how hostel folk are friendly? I almost immediately met JaVan, who was a friendly woman visiting for 3 months to learn Spanish.